"Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table." -William Shakespeare

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Elderberry Syrup

Now, personally, I recommend sleeping at midnight. And 2 am.

But I'm busy with Christmas e-shopping, playing outside, and feeling not-too-into sitting at the computer this week, so I'm sure that's why, psychically, John Paul isn't sleeping.

He just really wants our herbal medicine cabinet filled up before the cold sets in, with blog posts about it to boot.

Thanks, John.

Elderberry Syrup is fantastic for colds and coughs, and can be used liberally when one sets in. Having a teaspoon in your afternoon tea is a good preventative as well, though your syrup won't last through the cold and flu season that way!

Elderberries induce sweating, reduce fevers, and according to Rosemary Gldstar, elderberry is particularly effective as an immunity-booster when used with echinacea.

A pound of organic elderberry should cost you $10 or less and a pound will make 4 good batches of syrup, so it's quite a savings to make it yourself. Once, in a pinch, I purchased some elderberry tincture ($9 for and ounce!) and, man, was it gross! Whereas Elderberry Syrup is crazy-yum.

So we're just going to put 6c water and 2c dried elderberries in a pot.

This makes a double-strength syrup. You can use just 1c dried elderberries if you want a single-strength batch.

Now, listen closely because this is really tough: bring this to a boil, turn down, simmer for half an hour.

Mash up your berries, then strain through a fine mesh seive.

Add 2c honey (more or less to taste) {basically, 1 cup honey to 1 cup elderberry liquid} and warm only till you can mix the honey and the liquid well.
Isn't that beautiful?

Bottle, label.

Done. Stores months in the fridge, if it lasts that long.

{Editing to add: this year, 2012, I have been making this syrup with vegetable glycerine instead of honey, and adding a wee bit of vodka or brandy as a preservative and cough suppressant.  It tastes milder that way.  You can make it whichever way you like!}

"Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep."
~Fran Lebowitz


  1. This is all so cool and amazing. I know to you it probably doesn't seem like a big deal as you obviously know what you are doing. I'm so glad you are sharing all this but I'm not sure I'll actually get a chance to do it. I would definitely buy one of your tinctures or syrups though!

  2. Finally getting this made! Simmering now!

  3. Okay, I have questions!

    1. Is it supposed to be pretty thin, or more syrup like (I'm wondering if I squeezed too much juice out of my berries)

    2. How do you use it? On food? Like cough syrup?

    Thanks so much, love your blog!

  4. Kory-
    Thanks for the comments! Here's the skinny on this syrup:
    It is thin. You may add more honey or simmer it after combining the honey and juice. This will thicken it, but unfortunately this will also kill all the enzymes in the honey.

    Enzymes are your friend. If you are using good quality honey- and of course you are!- then let it be thin. It will be that much better for you.

    You can use this like cough syrup, add it to smoothies or oatmeal, or use it to sweeten your tea.